An Act of Participation

Alison Walker (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


An Act of Participation, The Gallery, De Montfort University 15 December 2017 to 17 March 2017 Solo Exhibition This practice led research project took the form of an extensive solo exhibition that frames three significant works created through my collaborative art practice as the artists duo Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich. This practice led research project brings together three significant art works that employ social sculpture, socially engaged art practice and participatory performance to explore notions of public and private. The three works contained in the exhibition each take different approaches in questioning private ownership, public ownership and the role participatory art practice can play as an advocate, facilitator and agitator for models of public and common ownership. The three works contained in the exhibition were The Art Lending Library (2012-18) and egalitarian social sculpture that lends over fifty contemporary art works to the public to borrow and enjoy in their own homes, work places and community centres. The Dragon of Profit and Private ownership (2017-18) a social sculpture taking the form of a dragon with the words Profit & Private Ownership and Corporate Greed stitched on to its sides the work is inspired by the imagery found on a Northumbrian Mine Workers Banner (1924) It is central to a participatory performance and satirical play that invites audiences to question the distribution of capital and the dominant mythologies that dictate social values. A Plea for common Ownership is a 45 min (2017) film work made during a yearlong residency in the ex-mining town of Ashington. The work shifts between interview with members of the Ashington community and moments of participatory performance as the community join in the artistic activity of re-imagining the imagery found on the Ashington Collieries Banner, 1924 within the streets of Ashington . Through joining in the production of the film this work becomes a collective activity in exploring the socialist routs of the town and examining the disintegration of contemporary social structures examined through the participation in art practice. Bringing these three works together in this substantial body of research through the form of the exhibition enables comparisons and connections to be made through these three models. This creates a significant body of research examining participatory art practice that plays on questions of public and private ownership. The research also explores art practice that aims to play an active role in society. As a body of work the research brings together these complementary methodologies through which public participation is engendered and questions around the public and the private are opened up for public audiences to engage with. I have chosen this research project because it has significant impact within the wider field of socially engaged art practice defines the leading role my research plays in this are. It takes place at a national and international level at Demontford Gallery. The demand for the three research projects contained within this large scale research project has been evidenced by the range and caliber of the institutions that have commissioned the research Arts Council England through People and Places a new initiatives that has been established to explore the role of art practice in complex and challenging contexts. This initiatives asks, “can art practice transform local communities and wider audiences understanding of site and context while having a positive impact on there lives “
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2017


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